(NOTE: The syllabi for all subjects in group 5 have been revised for students starting the diploma period in 2012. This page will be updated with the new subject content has been released for publication by the IBO.)
This course is available at standard level (SL) only. It caters for students with varied backgrounds and abilities. More specifically, it is designed to build confidence and encourage an appreciation of mathematics in students who do not anticipate a need for mathematics in their future studies. Students taking this course need to be already equipped with fundamental skills and a rudimentary knowledge of basic processes.
The course concentrates on mathematics that can be applied to contexts related as far as possible to other subjects being studied, to common real-world occurrences and to topics that relate to home, work and leisure situations. The course includes project work, a feature unique within this group of courses: students must produce a project, a piece of written work based on personal research, guided and supervised by the teacher. The project provides an opportunity for students to carry out a mathematical investigation in the context of another course being studied, a hobby or interest of their choice using skills learned before and during the course. This process allows students to ask their own questions about mathematics and to take responsibility for a part of their own course of studies in mathematics.
The students most likely to select this course are those whose main interests lie outside the field of mathematics, and for many students this course will be their final experience of being taught formal mathematics. All parts of the syllabus have therefore been carefully selected to ensure that an approach starting with first principles can be used. As a consequence, students can use their own inherent, logical thinking skills and do not need to rely on standard algorithms and remembered formulae. Students likely to need mathematics for the achievement of further qualifications should be advised to consider an alternative mathematics course.